Cross-country skier Therese Johaug ensured that Norway won a double victory over the weekend when World Cup competition wrapped up for the season at Falun in Sweden. By beating her rivals in the 10-kilometer pursuit, she won the overall World Cup and joined Martin Johnsrud Sundby who did the same among the men.
Sundby had already won enough points throughout the season to claim the overall World Cup going into the final weekend. He ended up with a total of 1,534 points, well ahead of his closest competitor, Alexander Legkov of Russia, who ended with 980 points. Alex Harvey of Canada placed third with 765 points.
Sundby also set a new record by becoming the first skier to win all three “Tour” competitions in the same season. He won the “mini-Tour” at the start of the skiing season, then won the tough, multi-event Tour de Ski in January and, finally, the World Cup Finals mini-tour in Falun.
“It’s been an incredible season,” he told the website for the International Ski Federation when it was all over, adding that he “really worked hard for this.” His former Norwegian teammate Petter Northug, who dominated men’s skiing for several years, had a miserable season and failed to win any medals. Sundby ended up being able to take his place.
Johaug, meanwhile, had also been wining medals all season, also in the Olympics, but still faced tough competition from her own Norwegian teammate, skiing queen Marit Bjørgen. Johaug beat Bjørgen in the 10K pursuit in Falun by a wide margin, though, with Norway’s Heidi Weng placing third.
That gave Johaug an overall standing of 1,545 points for the World Cup season, even more than Sundby’s and ahead of Bjørgen in the women’s, who ended second at 1,498. Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen, who had a tough season with injuries and the death of her brother just before the Olympics began, nonetheless ended third with 974 points.
Johaug also became the fifth Norwegian woman to win the overall World Cup in cross-country skiing, after Anette Bøe, Berit Aunli, Bente Skari and Marit Bjørgen. Johaug, originally from the eastern Norwegian valley of Østerdalen, said it fulfilled a childhood dream, adding that “now it’s payday for all the hours I’ve put into this. It’s been a crazy amount of hard work.”
She also thanked her teammates, her coaches and her family, stressing that she felt she was “in perfect shape … and had absolutely great skis.” That was music to the years of Norway’s waxing crews who suffered some humiliation at the Olympics in Sochi when their preparation didn’t always meet conditions.
In the ski federation’s Nations Cup Standings, Norway crushed its closest competitors with a total of 14,435 points. Russia was in second place with 6,310 points and Sweden third with 5,532.
In alpine skiing, meanwhile, Norway didn’t do as well as expected earlier in the season. Aksel Lund Svindal had to give up his hopes of winning the overall World Cup, with Marcel Hirscher of Austria winning for the third year in a row.